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Comments sought on water quality improvement

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) seeks comments on a water quality improvement report for Lake Osakis, Faille Lake and Smith Lake, located in Douglas and Todd counties.

The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), focuses on pollution caused by excess nutrients, mainly phosphorus, in all three lakes. The public comment period began November 5 and continues through December 5.

These three lakes are in the headwaters of the Sauk River watershed in central Minnesota. Lake Osakis was added to Minnesota's list of impaired waters in 2004, Faille Lake was added in 2006 and Smith Lake was added in 2008.

This study indicates that a 38 percent reduction in phosphorus entering Lake Osakis, a 70 percent reduction for Faille Lake, and a 35 percent reduction for Smith Lake will be required to meet state water quality standards. This study also indicates that agriculture-related runoff is the primary source of phosphorus in these lakes.

After receiving public comments, the MPCA will revise the draft TMDL report and submit it to the EPA for approval. Following EPA approval of the study, a plan will be developed to reduce pollution throughout the watershed.

The TMDL draft report is available on the MPCA's public notices webpage or the MPCA's St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road North.

Comments should be submitted to: Greg VanEeckhout, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Suite 105, Baxter, MN 56425, or by e-mail to

For more information, call VanEeckhout at 1-800-657-3864.

Written comments must include (1) a statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report; (2) a statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft TMDL that you believe should be changed; and (3) specific reasons supporting your position.

More information on the state's impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available at the MPCA's impaired waters and TMDL's webpage or by calling 1-800-657-3864.